How To Stop Trichotillomania – Hair Pulling In Children

Trichotillomania is a disorder where children or adults habitually pull out hair from their scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, underarms, arms, legs or anywhere else on the body.  In less severe cases, you may find your child sitting still – watching TV, studying, reading a book – and their idle hands will begin to pull their hair out. In more serious case,s children may pull out hair consciously despite the pain. What in the world would cause this, you ask? Well, when a toddler or a baby pulls hair, it’s usually when they are stressed, upset, crying or uncomfortable. Their way of self soothing, or distracting themselves from their discomfort is through hair pulling.

As a parent, Trichotillomania can be very stressful. Thankfully it can be relatively simple to stop. You should be able to prevent trichotillomania in children and in infants by simply engaging them in an activity at a time when they would normally pull out hair. In other words, don’t leave their hands unoccupied. Distraction techniques and busy activities are great. For ideas, read: Itchy Irritated Skin, Scratching Little Fingers- Part Two: Distraction Techniques.

But at night-time, it can be much more difficult. This best option to prevent bedtime hair pulling is with mittens. Mittens will simply prevent infants and children from being able to grasp their hair and pull it out. In cases where mittens are brightly colored or have interesting designs, they can serve as a great distraction from hair pulling as well. The most efficient mittens for hair pulling are made of silk as the smooth, silky fabric will prevent children from being able to grab hold of their hair and pull it out – the hair will just slip right through their grasp.

ScratchSleeves are excellent at preventing babies and toddlers from pulling hair. These clever mittens were created for children with eczema, but work just as well for hair pulling, as well as preventing scratching from itchy post surgery stitches and poison ivy. They’ve been known to put an end to thumb sucking too. They have a silk outer mitten and have stretchy long sleeves that can fit over the shoulders like a cardigan, making them very difficult for children to remove. You can fold the mitten open for play and closed for protection.

These 100% organic cotton long sleeve mitten tops are another great option.

ScratchMeNot flip mitten sleeve for Trichotillomania In Children

Are you crafty? Then why not make your own protective mittens?  Socks work well for this, but can be pulled off rather easily. It’s best to add something to the sock to tie them onto the wrist. You’ll also need a very soft material for the sock-mittens and if you can find silk, even better. But silk socks, might be a bit hard to find.

Does your little one have Trichotillomania? What have you found works best for your family to prevent hair pulling?

FROM: Eczema


  1. jenterloo on September 7, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    I have tried the scratch sleeves & they do not work for my determined little girl. She can easily grab a handful of hair and pull. Any other ideas????

    • Jennifer Roberge on September 19, 2016 at 11:36 am

      Oh no! Usually the silk is enough to prevent a good grip. Sorry to hear this. I’m not sure what else to suggest you try.

    • Nellio321 on October 21, 2016 at 2:34 am

      As an adult who has struggled since I was 12 with this “disorder” and I would say treat the cause of the hair pulling and not the hair pulling itself.

      Does she eat too much sugar? Monitor her sugar intake very closely and minimize it to zero. No juice, no cake, no lollipops and foods with naturally high sugar should be minimized or avoided.

      Has she suffered from yeast issues? Candida causes a wide variety of ailments and there is a connection between hair pulling, skin conditions and yeast. I’m not a doctor but I’d say treat the cause and not they symptoms.

      Has she had skin issues? Since you are on a site for allergies, I am only assuming you’ve seen some form of dermatitis or skin rash. This is a short blog about the connection between skin issues and hair pulling:

      And there is nothing wrong with your little girl. She is normal. Just control her diet and be patient.There are several books and websites that will fully explain like “The Yeast Connection”; it’s not a baby book but it is informative. There is a lot more science involved in bad habits and though the mittens and shaving your head can help with those who have a bad habit of tugging on hair it doesn’t stop the root cause which is internal.

      • Frank1973 on May 14, 2019 at 5:47 am

        @Nellio321 -Thank you for your comment!

    • Sara on April 10, 2023 at 12:31 am

      Hi there! Have you found a solution for your little one? How is the hair pulling now? I have 18 month old twin girls with bald spots from the pulling, I’m not sure what to do!

      • Mia on April 12, 2023 at 4:21 am

        We have been struggling too and our LO is now 24 months. We put a mitten on her hand to prevent the hair pulling but she pulled it off with the other hand. She sucks her fingers with the other hand so I’d like to put mittens on both hands but I’m not sure if it’s too much to stop both habits at the same time??

    • Katherine on September 6, 2023 at 3:43 am

      Hey. We are in this with our 3yr old. What did you do that helped? I can see this is an old post. Hope you were able to stop it. My girl is also very strong willed

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